Lee Valley Tools    Gardening Newsletter
   Vol. 6, Issue 3
   June 2011
   Garden Bugs: The Good and the Bad

Rose curculio damage   Rose curculio damage
Petal damage most likely caused by the rose curculio.

A garden is not only a haven for plants but also a home for insects. Many are beneficial, "the good", but there are those that are detrimental, "the bad". A common gardening belief is that slow-moving bugs (such as slugs and aphids), feed on plants, while fast-moving ones (ladybugs and black beetles, for example), feed on other unwanted insects. This is generally correct, but it's not a perfect rule. Learning how to properly differentiate the good insects from the bad will help keep your garden plants healthy throughout the growing season.

The Good: Beneficial Garden Insects
Lacewing (suborder Endopterygota or Neuropterida)
Benefit: Feeds on a variety of small soft insects. Larva is known as the "aphid lion" because of its propensity to prey on these insects.
Attraction: Nectar and pollen-rich plants.
Ladybug (Hippodamia convergens)
Benefit: Voracious aphid eater.
Attraction: Seems to particularly like nasturtium (Tropaeolum), lamb's ear (Stachys byzantine), morning glory (Ipomoea) and yarrow (Achillea).
Assassin Bug (Reduviidae)
Benefit: Feeds on a variety of pests, including caterpillars, leafhoppers and mites.
Attraction: Found naturally in most gardens.
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